Kline, Pettway lead Rebs to win over Murray State

Ole Miss, 34-13, wraps up the non-conference portion of the 2005 regular season with a victory at home.

Brian Pettway got the home runs, but Will Kline got the bath - as well as the win.

Pettway's 2-for-2, 6-RBI night along with two walks sparked a 12-hit Rebel offense in a 10-2 Ole Miss victory over Murray State, while Kline's first career start produced a win for himself and for his team. And in the end a good-natured water dousing from a Gatorade cup by fellow pitcher Matt Maloney.

The Rebels scored early and often in this one with two runs in the first followed by four in the second. It was in the second that Pettway sent his first of two balls out of the park, a 3-run shot to left.

In the fourth Pettway sent another one out, this time to left again with a 2-RBI round-tripper. His home run total is now at 13 on the season, two behind the team-leading total of 15 by Stephen Head.

"The first one I hit I really thought was just a pop up but it carried on out of here," said Pettway, who hadn't had a home run since the first game of the Alabama series on April 8. "The second one I hit, I knew I hit it good. I was really happy about that. It was about time. I'd been in a (home run) slump for about two or three weeks."

Ole Miss was up 7-0 before Murray State got on the scoreboard with a run in the top of the fourth. After five complete it was 10-1 Rebels and all but over. The visitors added a run in the seventh to end the scoring for the night.

Kline, now 2-2 on the year, had only pitched 14 innings this season prior to the start against the Thoroughbreds and hadn't been very productive. In getting the win, Kline pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts and three walks.

"One of the best things I heard a coach say a long time ago was never get too high or too low in baseball," the 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman right-hander from Tupelo High said. "Things change real fast in this game. You just have to stay at an even keel. That helped me not to get too down on myself."

Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said it was good to see Kline perform well.

"He's had some bad fortune out there, and the baseball gods haven't been too kind to him," Bianco said. "That's what makes our game such a difficult game. Here's a guy with a lot of talent who can pump the ball into the strike zone and throw a hard slider and a breaking ball as good as anybody. So hopefully now things are turning around for him. I'm proud of the way he took the mound today. He had no fear and really dominated the strike zone early."

And as for the shower? As Kline was being interviewed by his hometown TV station - WTVA Channel 9 of Tupelo - Maloney sneaked up behind him and poured the water over his head. Didn't matter to Kline.

One of the team's best pitchers of the year was simply making sure that Kline knew his teammates were happy for him.

"It's all good-natured," Kline said. "I know he's pulling for me and wants me to do well."

Michael Wakefield relieved Kline and went two and a third innings with two hits, a strikeout and a walk. Stoney Stone then went two innings allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts. Pettway closed the final inning striking out one MSU batter and getting the next two to ground out and fly out respectively.

Head was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Chris Coghlan was 2-for-2.

Catcher Justin Brashear, who has struggled at the plate during his off and on playing time his first two seasons at Ole Miss, got his first collegiate home run when he sent a solo shot over the right field wall in the fifth.

"I've never really lost confidence in my abilities, but that was obviously a confidence-builder for me," Brashear said. "That was pretty fun. I hadn't done that in a while."

The Rebels, 34-13, now travel to Auburn, 28-19, for a three-game SEC series at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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